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Hagel 75, Chuck Hagel 57, Israel 30, Us 22, U.s. 21, Washington 20, Cia 18, Iran 17, John Brennan 16, Brennan 15, America 14, United States 14, Clinton 13, Egypt 13, Pentagon 11, Iraq 11, Geico 9, John Mccain 9, Afghanistan 8, Obama 7,
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  CNN    The Situation Room    News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting  
   and online resources update international news. New.  

    January 7, 2013
    1:00 - 4:00pm PST  

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and that's it for me. i'm brooke baldwin here at the cnn headquarters in atlanta. let's go to wolf blitzer in washington. wolf. >> brooke, thanks very much. happening now, president obama nominates chuck hagel to run the pentagon. calling him a leader our troops deserve. hagel's critics call him profoundly wrong on national security. also, we have new details about a horrifying night in colorado. a police officer cries as he describes a theater floor slippery with blood. plus, a first look at proposed regulations that have would-be gun owners racing right now to buy guns. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- we begin with president obama setting the stage for a
new fight here in washington. this time, other the national security team for his second term. the president's nominating the former senator chuck hagel, a republican, for defense secretary, and his counterterrorism adviser john brennan to direct the cia. at least one critic calls the hagel nomination an "in your face" pick. let's bring in our white house correspondent brianna keilar. she's working the story for us. the president was effusive in his praise for hagel. >> president obama said hagel, a republican, quote, represents a bipartisan tradition that we need more of in washington. but of course republicans on the hill are panning this pick. and some democrats as well have some concerns. critics charge that hagel's support of israel has been lacking, and that he has not been tough enough on iran. they point to his comments, once describing apac, the leading pro-israel lobby, as the jewish lobby. and also to his lack support for
unilateral sanctions against iran. but here at the white house, they're pointing to his support for sanctions from the u.s. as well as its allies, together, forming sanctions against iran. this is something president obama referenced today in the east room. >> he understands that america stands strongest when we stand with allies. and with friends. as a successful businessman, he also knows that even as we make tough fiscal choices, we have to do so wisely. and keep our military the strongest fighting force the world has ever known. maybe most importantly, chuck knows that war is not an obstructi obstruction. he understands that sending young americans to fight and bleed in the dirt and mud, that's something we only do when it's absolutely necessary.
>> the president stressed hagel's experience as an enlisted soldier in vietnam. hagel would be the first secretary of defense to have been an enlisted man. even though there are a number of concerns, and this will most likely be the most contentious of president obama's new nominations, the sense is that president obama feels that hagel has very good answers to the questions that he will be asked. and during his confirmation process, he'll be able to win over some more support, democratic support. some senators have voiced their support already for hagel. for instance, senator leahy, wolf. but there are some who still reserved their support, saying they have concerns that need to be answered during the process. >> there's no doubt that the president refused to back down in the face of the criticism that had been building over the past few weeks. listen to what senator hagel himself said today in the white house. >> mr. president, i'm grateful for this opportunity to serve
our country again. and especially its men and women in uniform and their families. these are people who give so much to this nation every day with such dignity and selflessness. this is particularly important at a time as we complete our mission in afghanistan and support the troops and military families who have sacrificed so much over more than a decade of war. i'm also grateful for an opportunity to help continue to strengthen our country and strengthen our country's alliances. and advance global freedom, decency and humanity. as we help build a better world for all mankind. >> the chairman of the senate armed soimps s services committe carl levin says he hopes to start confirmation hearings soon. the president picked a less controversial person to lead the cia. although there are a few issues there as well. >> there are a few issues. john brennan of course his
longtime top terrorism adviser. you could see today the fam yardty, the rapport these two men have, and certainly that came into consideration as president obama picked him. in '08, brennan withdrew his name from consideration for the same role as cia director, amid questions that it was actually liberals raising about his involvement in enhanced interrogation tactics during the bush administration. since then, brennan has very much distanced himself from those practices. he's been a top adviser to president obama as he has banned torture. so those concerns may not play as much of a factor. but do expect him to be asked some very tough questions about the drone program, which has in full swing very much under his direction. that's something of course that a number of democrats, as well as human rights activists, so concerns about, wolf. >> brianna, thank you. during our next hour, we'll hear from a top republican senator who has announced he will vote
against confirming chuck hagel for defense secretary. i asked senator cornyn of texas why he isn't waiting for hagel's confirmation hearings before making up his mind. >> i consider him to be an honorable man with a distinguished record of service. but also at the same time profoundly wrong on some of the biggest national security threats confronting the united states today. he's a good man, but this is a wrong job for him because he's certainly outside of the national security mainstream. >> you're going to see my interview with senator cornyn during our 5:00 p.m. eastern hour. that's our next hour. we'll get specific about why senator cornyn thinks hagel's the wrong man for the job. let's dig a little deeper with our chief political analyst gloria borger. why do you think -- i know you're speaking to a lot of folks, the president held firm, refused to be kowtowed, refused to give up on hagel? >> that's right, wolf, as you know, we've been reporting hagel
was his top choice since sort of early/mid-december and i don't think that really wavered even in the face of all this criticism that has come out. first, the president obviously believes that he's qualified. he's a decorated war veteran. in the congress, he served on the foreign relations and intelligence committees. he's co-chair of the president's intelligence advisory board. i think the president and chuck hagel formed a bond over their mutual opposition to the war in iraq. as you know, hagel opposed the surge in iraq. i should add, he opposed the surge in afghanistan, which the president himself authored. but there's one other reason that i think the president looked to chuck hagel. and that is that he believes that hagel will not necessarily just accept the advice of the generals and say "that's it." he believes he will not be intimidated by the generals. that he can stand up to the generals. and in the statement, we heard the president say today, he made
it very clear that hagel is, as he put it, geared towards the guy at the bottom who is doing the fighting and the dying. and i think that's important to the president. we learned it when he went through his afghanistan review. he talked to the generals. he did in the end what some of them wanted. it was very important to him that he kind of divorce himself and make up his own mind. i think he thinks chuck hagel will be able to do that as they start to downsize the pentagon. >> all right, chuck hagel may be a republican, and there are plenty of republicans who say they're not going to vote for him -- not necessarily vote for hip but aren't happy with this nomination but there are some democrats as well who aren't enthusiastic. >> it's mostly because the reasons brianna stated. particularly the question of iran sanctions. and whether he is pro-israel enough. i spoke with a senior democrat aide in the senate today who said to me right now there are
at least ten democrats in the senate who he called either undecided or concerned about the hagel nomination. that doesn't mean they're going to vote no. but it means they're going to ask some very tough questions. now, i've also been told that hagel has been privately working the hill with republicans and those democrats who have questions about him. and today in an interview with a lincoln, nebraska, newspaper, hometown interview, first interview, hagel himself said that his record will demonstrate what he called an unequivocal and total support for israel. >> i think john brennan's going to have a much easier ride through the senate intelligence committee and through the senate. >> he is going to have an easier fight. but there are questions about it. i mean, john mccain who was tortured himself when he was a p.o.w., has raised real questions about brennan's role in the bush administration supporting enhanced interrogation. today, he put out a statement
saying he wanted to know, quote, what role he played in the so-called enhanced interrogation progras while serving at the cia during the last administration. i would also point out, wolf, that john mccain is on the same side as the liberal civil rights group the aclu in this. they are raising the same kinds of questions. even though in the past, brennan has said that he opposes these enhanced interrogation techniques. >> we'll watch these confirmation hearings every step of the way. >> should be interesting, both of them. >> low flying helicopters have people in some of the country's biggest cities asking questions. the answers have to do with preparations for a possible terrorist attack. using radioactive dirty bombs. plus, before we get to that, we have some new details emerging about the colorado theater shootings, including the suspect's strange behavior once he was caught. uncer ] when was the last time something made your jaw drop? campbell's has 24 new soups that will make it drop over, and over again. ♪
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it's been nearly six months since the colorado theater shootings but only today we're getting some gruesome details of what police found at the scene. cnn's ed lavandera was in the suburban denver courtroom as prosecutors began revealing the evidence against the alleged gunman james holmes. ed's joining us now. ed, tell us what you heard. >> reporter: well, wolf, this is really the first time since the july shootings that we've heard from -- firsthand from the officers that made the arrest of james holmes just moments after the shooting that killed 12 people here in aurora, colorado. those officers describe seeing james holmes just standing by his car in this frantic situation, chaotic, with victims
screaming and yelling for help, and james holmes just standing there, decked out in protective gear, a helmet and a gas mask. and at first the officers said they thought he was a s.w.a.t. officer. it wasn't until they approached hip they realized this was perhaps the asuspect they were looking for. one of the officers described him as staring off into space, seemed to be out of it. at the same time, the officer said he understood everything that was going on, never really spoke to the officers. but it was the testimony the officers gave where they describe first walking into theater number nine where the shooting took place that offered the most emotion from what we heard today. several officers unable to just simply describe what they saw. they described the gruesome carnage inside that theater. one of the officers describing making four trips in his own police car, taking victims to -- rushing victims to the hospital himself. and then described the amount of blood that was left inside of his car as he made that final trip to the hospital. the fourth time taking six
people in all. wolf. >> and what's the defense strategy that's emerging from james holmes' attorneys? >> reporter: well, you know, we're kind of reading through the tea leaves at this point because there's a strict gag order in place. the defense attorneys are unable to speak with reporters about what their strategy is, but in the cross examination they've asked these police officer witnesses, there's been a great deal of attention paid to james holmes' demeanor, and what he looked like, how he acted, and that sort of thing. clearly, there are a lot of people around here who suggest they're going for some sort of mental health defense here down the road. but they still haven't entered a plea so we don't know exactly what they're going to do. but the indication seem they're headed down that way. >> you've also seen some of the victims and their families in the courtroom today. how are they dealing, ed? >> reporter: you know, it's interesting, there were several overflow rooms where victims and
family members can watch this testimony if they choose to. this courtroom is very crowded. a great deal of attention, of people who want to see what is going on throughout these proceedings. i was struck by one moment that i witnessed just outside of the courtroom. the father of one of the victims, a survivor in the shoot, and the officer, jason ofiat, who was the first officer who hand coughed holmes outside the theater after one of the sessions this morning, the gentleman came by and gave the officer a hug and thank eed him for everything he did that night. that speaks volumes to the emotion and how gut-wrenching it is for many who are watching and listen to this and will be throughout this week. >> ed lavandera, thank you. the colorado theater shootings and last month's school massacre in new town, connecticut, prompted president obama to set up a task force on gun violence. our crime and justice correspondent joe johns has been getting some details about the ideas that are under consideration. also getting some reaction from gun owners out there. what are you seeing?
>> we, wolf, you know, america has a love/hate relationship with guns. it's on full display now. background checks for sales of firearms have hit a record pace in anticipation of new gun control proposals under development at the white house. people are racing to buy the weapons they fear they one day might not be able to get. >> we probably are seeing at least a 50% increase in sales. our assault rifles, ars, aks, have all doubled in sales. >> reporter: meanwhile, over at the white house, the administration is looking to a working group of experts led by vice president biden to come up with better ideas to reduce crimes committed with guns. >> you have a much more holistic view of how to deal with violence on our streets, in our country. >> reporter: officials who were inside the first working group meeting describe it as a brainstorming session that went far beyond talk of renewing the so-called assault weapons ban that was enacted during the
clinton administration. the officials said they talked about banning high-capacity magazines, improving mental health checks for people who are purchasing weapons. bolstering the federal background check system for gun purchasers, including closing the loophole that allows many purchasers at gun shows to avoid background checks altogether. also, a national gun registry and improving tracking of ammunition sales. dan gross, who is president of the brady campaign to prevent gun violence, has had conversations with the white house. >> i would be fairly confident that the task force is, based on what the president's been saying, that alone, that the task force is committed to exploring more broad solutions than just an assault weapons ban. >> reporter: on capitol hill, some of the ideas go even further. the democratic senators from new york want tough new gun trafficking laws. >> we have thousands of laws but effectively none of them are focused on preventing someone from virginia from driving up to new york city, parking their car
in a parking lot and selling illegal firearms out of the back of his truck to criminals. >> reporter: but the question is whether advocates of gun rights on the hill and the voters who sent them to congress will stand for it. >> i don't think the federal government has any business having a list of law abiding citizens who choose to exercise their right to keep and bear arms. >> reporter: the top republican in the senate points out congress already has a full agenda to last well into the new year. >> clearly, we'll not be addressing that issue early because spending and debt are going to dominate the first three months. >> reporter: but there seems to be a middle ground. there are some gun owners who say certain people should not have guns. >> i'm all for trying to weed out the individuals that shouldn't have them that make the rest of us look bad. and i'm definitely for that. but in the same sense, i don't think we should just, you know, ban everybody from owning a specific type of firearm. >> reporter: it's important to say also what we're reporting here is basically a wish list
from some of the stakeholders in the gun control debate. a law enforcement official i talked to said he was not aware of any specific preposals the group had actually agreed on. the whole point was to get something on paper that the vice president could deliver to mr. obama in advance of the state of the union address, wolf. >> we'll see what that state of the union address contains. specifics. that's what people want to know. thanks very much, joe, for that. hillary clinton's team at the state department had a special plan for her return today and they had an opportunity to tease her about her health. tonight. uhh, it's next month, actually... eddie continues singing: to tickets to... paradiiiiiise! no four. remember? whoooa whooaa whooo! you know ronny, folks who save hundreds of dollars by switching to geico sure are happy. and how happy are they jimmy? happier than eddie money running a travel agency. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
with the new year, the palestinian authority is changing its name. lisa sylvester's monitoring that. some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. >> from now on, the palestinian authority wants to be known as the state of palestine. the government's new agency called the rebranding a, quote, unique new move to the path of national independence. it also reflects the upgrade in its status at the united nations to nonmember observer state. passports and other documents will now show the new name. hillary clinton is back at work at the statement department. clinton has been out since
suffering a concussion which led to a blood clot in her head. her team gave her some appropriate gifts for her last days on the job, including a helmet and a football jersey with the number 112. that's the number of countries she has visited as secretary of state. she will serve as the nation's top diplomat till her likely successor john kerry is confirm by the senate. and two of college football's most legendary teams will fight for the championship tonight. notre dame plays alabama in miami. fewer than four hours from now. the fighting irish are gunning for their 12th title. it is actually their first in 24 years. crimson tide has won 14 titles including two of the last three. so do you have a favorite there, wolf? >> no, but i'm looking forward to an excellent football game. >> it sounds like an excellent matchup but may the best team win. i don't have a dog in that fight either. i think there were a lot of long faces in our house yesterday afternoon.
>> sad about the redskins. chuck hagel served for a dozen years, so if president obama thought that would guarantee him an easy confirmation through the senate, he may have made a strategic error. is it going to be rough? why the republican is getting the once over from some fellow republicans. that's coming up. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] some day, your life will flash before your eyes. ♪ make it worth watching. ♪ the new 2013 lexus ls. an entirely new pursuit.
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your repairs are guaranteed for life. call... to switch, and you could save hundreds. ♪ born to make mistakes liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? chuck hagel spent about a dozen years on capitol hill as a republican senator, but you might not necessarily know that from the criticism that's been lobbed his way from some other former colleagues. especially some republicans. cnn's jim acosta's joining us from capitol hill with more on this rather unique part of the story. what's going on here, jim?
>> reporter: wolf, hagel may be a former senator but it's not clear how much deference he's going to get on capitol hill from issues like israel and gay rights, hagel will have to walk through a political minefield in order to get confirmed. the white house is also playing defense when it comes to hagel. a former two-term senator from nebraska. the president's pick for secretary is defense is running into resistance from inside the republican party. this senator who was once on the short list himself says hagel is in for a fight. have you made up your mind on this? >> i want to give hagel a former colleague, the opportunity to come and go face-to-face. to answer these questions. these allegations. what i think are some serious questions that do not perhaps qualify him for this position. >> reporter: one big battle to come, a comment hagel made in 2006 about pro-israeli groups and their influence on capitol hill. when he said the jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up
here. hagel has since apologized for the comment. but that hasn't stopped the criticism. the head of the anti-defamation league released a statement saying he hopes hagel will clarify and explain his comments about the jewish lobby that were hurtful to many in the jewish community. hagel made the remark to miller, a middle east analyst, who says the comment is being twisted. >> those comments have been hijacked in an effort to make a case frankly that, in my judgment, isn't well deserved. >> reporter: still, some republican senators say hagel's comments fit a pattern. >> chuck hagel, if confirmed to be secretary of defense, would be the most antagonistic secretary of defense toward the state of israel in our nation's history. >> reporter: some in the white house believe that gop ill will stems from the bush years when hagel aligned himself with then senator barack obama as a critic of the iraq war. >> i don't know how many united states senators believe we have a coherent strategy in iraq. i don't think we've ever had a
coherent strategy. >> reporter: noting hagel's two purple hearts from vietnam, a senior administration official brushed off the gop criticism. saying it's one thing to posture on a talk show. it's another thing to look a two-term senator in the eye and say i'm going to vote against you because you turn against the war in iraq. but there are other political l land mines looming. and neo conservatives point to hagel's stance against unilateral sanctions on iran. in principle, hagel only supports multilateral sanctions. >> i think it will be a lot of tough questions of hagel but he'll be treated fairly by republicans in the senate. >> reporter: now, this afternoon, john mccain also released a statement on chuck hagel's nomination, saying he has serious concerns heading into these confirmation hearings. but i have to tell you, wolf, this white house official i talked to indicated the administration seems to be ready for a fight, that official was
noting how many republican senators were praising chuck hagel when he left the senate several years ago. just shows you, even though hagel spent many years up here on capitol hill, he may not have as many friends as he might think and that might be the price for being a maverick so many years, wolf. >> jim acosta on capitol hill, getting ready for those confirmation hearings. thank you. let's get to our strategy session right now. dig a little deeper with our cnn political analyst the democratic pollster darnell belcher. eric cantor, the majority leader in the house, the republican, he said this in a statement. he said, there has been wide spread and bipartisan opposition to this potential nomination and the president's willingness to move forward despite these concerns only reinforces the signal that he agrees with ha l hagel's extreme positions. cornell, does that -- is that
what the president's decision -- >> this is sort of a head scratcher because this is a guy who republicans once supported. i think hagel's crime here in washington is that he dared not walk lock step in with his party in a partisan way. if you look at why they're attacking senator hagel, it's because he did have different views and different opinions and he wasn't afraid to talk about different views and opinions. this is sort of encapsulates why washington isn't working. he's a bold and independent thinker. he didn't walk lock step with the partisans in his party and now they're attacking him for it. >> it didn't take colin powell, the former secretary of state in the bush administration, the retired general, to issue a statement, ari in which he said this, he said, chuck displays his courage in many ways. you can count on him to analyze a difficult situation and take a position that reflects his best
judgment. i believe that more than ever we need that kind of independent and bold leader who thinks in and out of the box. that's general colin powell. what do you say? >> i'm for thinking in and out of the box but i'm not for thinking outside the mainstream. and the mainstream of both parties when it comes to foreign policy. that's where chuck hagel is. one the core issues as defense secretary has to deal with probably over the next 12 months to 24 months tops is iran. secretary hagel's had a history of being soft on iran. hard on israel, soft on iran. and i think that's why you're seeing substantive opposition to chuck hagel. not on the basis of his party or whether he really is a republican anymore or not. it's about the substantive issues where he is really -- it's hard to find anybody in american politics who has a record like chuck hagel which is why it was so surprising the president has picked him. you have to wonder if this signals a change in direction from the president on down. >> when chuck hagel says he
supports multilateral sanctions against iran to try to stop it from building a nuclear bomb, he thinks unilateral u.n. sanctions wouldn't make much of a difference because they could skirt around those unilateral sanctions. what's wrong with that kind of advice? >> well, why did he put a hold on sanctions in 2008? if he thought unilateral was wrong, could just oppose it. he put a hold on sanctions at the very end of 2008. not 2001 when he voted against sanctions but 2008 when it was more international. he's also said military force is not an option against iran. that's music to iran's ears. especially coming from the defense secretary. that's what i mean, wolf. it's outside the mainstream of where virtually everybody in the senate is. if the president had wanted to make a different appointment to defense, republicans would have gone along. they're not blocking john kerry while they have other issues they disagree with, with john kerry. it's just chuck hagel. because, again, so far outside that bipartisan foreign policy mainstream. >> all right, cornell, what does this say about the president, that he refused to back down?
>> well, it says that the president -- he's leading. i mean, this certainly -- chuck hagel is someone who fits the sort of description of what the president wants to see more of in washington. just reaching across the aisle. touching republicans. you know, reaching across the aisle and saying, you know what, you don't have to play this partisan political game all the time. here is someone who has been a republican senator from a red state who agrees with me on some issues but disagrees with me on other issues. but we can work together. he's someone who has my confidence. again, like colin powell said. so a bold independent thinker. another thing, here's it is guy who can be the first enlisted man who can ever be secretary here. here's someone who gets the troops. when the president looked at what the troops are going through now, no one's going to fight harder for those troops than hagel will because he gets it, he understands the sacrifices they've made. >> you tweeted this earlier, ari, i'll read it to viewers. hagel fits potus definition of
bipartisanship. stick two fingers in the eye of your opponent, not just one. explain what you meant. >> yeah, because if he had picked joe lieberman, if he had picked jon kyl, it would have been a bipartisan appointment, for example. john kerry, hillary clinton, didn't oppose either one of them. that was bipartisanship. he deliberately didn't make a nomination that would be bipartisan. he made a nomination that would be a taunt. and that's what chuck hagel is. it's because of the policy issues i mentioned. and cornell's wrong if he says this is bipartisanship. remember, chuck hagel didn't even endorse the republican who ran in the new hampshire seat. he endorsed a democrat over that republican. usually in a nomination hearing, the republican from your state sits at your side. he opposed her. the policy issue is the one that's at heart. >> if the president would have backed down following the whole susan rice controversy, whether she should be clinton's
successor at the state department, she withdrew her name, as our viewers remember. if he would have caved on this one, he would have looked incredibly weak, i think, don't you agree? >> well, two things. one, i don't think he caved on susan rice. she was never nominated. and susan rice actually took herself out of the running for that. but -- so i don't think it's caving in on this. i've got to go back to something to point to ari. look, he was a republican. a sitting republican senator. if that's not bipartisan, i mean, i don't know what is. i have to, again, go back to what chuck hagel's real crime is here. and that is not playing the politics, the political ways of washington, which means you have to walk in lock step with your party. and if you walk outside of that, you'll be punished for it. i think that's what you're seeing right now. and the republicans attack on chuck hagel. especially when he went the opposite direction on his party. with the war in iraq. and guess what, he was right. >> this is a debate on -- >> it's hard to find --
>> hold on, ari, because we're going to have you back, but unfortunately, got to leave it at that note right now. ari will be back later. cornell, thanks to you as well. this debate obviously is going to intensify as the confirmation process gets going. we have a close-up look at something nobody in the u.s. wants to face. you're going to see what's being done now to prepare for a terrorist attack using a radioactive dirty bomb. at the doctor's office when they weigh you, and they have to move it over? my doctor does not have to do that anymore. [ male announcer ] for every 2 pounds you lose through diet and exercise alli can help you lose one more by blocking some of the fat you eat. feels great. [ male announcer ] simple. effective. take that, 50 pound thingy. let's fight fat with alli. learn more, lose more at
it's odd to thing about cities with their own radiation but here in washington, d.c. the government is trying to find out what's normal so they can figure out what's not normal in the event of a real terror attack. brian todd has been looking into this story for us. >> government is doing this with a specially equipped low-flying helicopter that detects gamma radiation. it's that detection that helps them with all this. it is startling people because of how low it flies. that's better than being startled by a terrorist with a dirty bomb later. it's a head turner. flying so low over the city that your first instinct is something's wrong. but it's part of a plan to safeguard washington from a
nuclear or dirty bomb attack. >> if sometime in the future you have a reason to be looking for something radio logical, it's very necessary to have the original background. >> reporter: specially equipped helicopters flown by the national security administration, partnering with the department of homeland security, are looking for naturally occurring radiation. the helicopter flies in a back and forth pattern like a lawn mower. sometimes as low as 50 feet off the ground. the idea is to create a map of the normal radiation levels of the city. then when there's a specific threat a nuclear or dirty bomb attack, the government can look at the map, see what's normal, and then see what may be an anomaly. the choppers would be sent up again to check out the possible anomaly. >> if we got some indication that something was different from the background, then we start narrowing it down with our
investigation on foot. and in the vehicle. >> reporter: this expert says there's a lot of that in a city. >> the asphalt in this road right here puts out game that radiation. large buildings like this put out a certain amount of radiation. even here we are, mcpherson square, washington, d.c., the monument, solid granite there, that puts out radiation. that's what we want to see what it looks like on a daily basis. >> reporter: it's gamma-admitting radiation, cothe ball 60 and cease yum 136 that's used at construction sites. in hospitals for medical treatment and testing. and can be used in a dirty bomb. this helicopter is equipped with crystal-based gamma radiation sensing technology. two pilots, a scientist and a technician on board. in case of an active threat, they may get an urgent call to scan a certain part of a city. >> we maintain a full array of
deployable teams that can deploy during the day within two hours. across the united states. >> reporter: larson says it's critical that the government do this kind of testing because cities are especially vulnerable to dirty bombs. >> this is a terrorist attack that we think is one of the more likely ones for them to do. >> reporter: these flyovers cover about 70 square miles of the washington, d.c. area and will go through this week. they started them on december 27th. >> they've done this in other cities as well? >> that's right. the nnsa has done these flyover tests in new york, and in baltimore. this is actually at least the second time they've done it over washington, d.c. they did it earlier, five years ago. so they're just updating it right now. >> all right, brian, thanks very much. interesting and important stuff. the boeing dream liner hasn't been in the air very long. in fact, the first delivery of one was fewer than 16 months ago. that's why a fire in a battery compartment of one plane is now
so troubling. cnn's renee marsh is here working this story. what happened? >> this plane had just landed in boston from tokyo around 10:00 this morning. passengers deplaned. and the next set of passengers were ready to board when a mechanic inspecting the aircraft smelled smoke and called firefighters. they found heavy smoke in the cabin. and a fire in the underbelly of the aircraft. the flames were in a small electronics bay where batteries for an auxiliary power unit are kept. one of the batteries exploded. firefighters were able to extinguish the fire with a special flame retardant. firefighter suffered skin irritation. no passengers were hurt. the return flight to tokyo was canceled. we should also tell you the ntsb, the faa, as well as boeing and the airlines, they are all investigating the cause. >> i take it here too, this isn't the first time the dream liner has had a problem. >> you're absolutely right. in 2010, there was an emergency
landing after a fire broke out in a different part of another 787 that was being tested. also, an engine failed in south carolina other the summer and in september, more engine problems, another aircraft, and just last month, wolf, a 787 diverted to new orleans due to mechanical problems. but because the investigation is still under way, boeing is saying it is just too early to tell if there's a common factor between today's fire and all of the previous incidents. however, we spoke to some experts and they tell us problems with new jetliners, that is not at all unusual. they say today's problem is serious. it needs to be addressed. but they add that planes are safe and problems like this, they get investigated and then they solve them. >> i'm ready to go up in one of those dream liners. it's exciting plane. >> we should get a flight together. >> you want to go? >> yes. >> all right, renee, thanks. if you're confident, i'm confident. you've done the work, the reporting. thank you. >> sure. other the weekend, i was in
egypt, where i had a chance to speak exclusively with the country's new president. you're going to hear him tell me he's coming to the united states, when he's coming. he wants to meet with president obama soon. and among other things, he tells me he's going to once again ask the president of the united states to release a man convicted in the 1993 bombing of the world trade center. the so-called blind sheikh. stand by. we're going to have parts of the interview coming up. also ahead, prince charles opens up about having a son in afghanistan, as well as the world where some day his grandchild will be king. wait for it... wait for it...
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prince charles has never had a reputation for being especially warm, which is why his latest interview has drawn so much attention and interest in the uk. our max foster is joining us with more on what charles said that so many people are finding noteworthy. what did he say? >> well, he's a man that's known for his opinions, wolf, he does express his opinions to government. some people have a problem with that. but he's not the monarchy yet so he kind of gets away with it.
one area he has credibility is on the environment. many years ago before it was a mainstream subject, he was championing protecting the rain forest and wildlife. he was talking about that today on british tv and he made a few comments. he says since he found out he's going to become a grandfather, the duchess of cambridge is obviously pregnant, his opinions about conservation have actually become much stronger. >> have gone on for years about importance of thinking, about the long term, in relation to environmental damage, climate change, everything else. because we don't really in a sense airline world want to hand on an increasingly dysfunctional world to our grandchildren. and i don't want to be confronted by my future grandchild say, why didn't you do something. so clearly, now that there's a -- we'll have a grandchild, obviously, it makes it even more obvious, you know, to try and make sure we have them, leave
them something that isn't a totally poisoned -- >> this is something, wolf, he spoke about in the past. he thinks it's the greatest threat posed to the world at the moment. i think his opinion's now stronger. >> he's getting a little bit more emotional in public as he gets older. what does he say about his son harry serving in afghanistan? >> prince harry is in afghanistan, flying apache helicopters, very successfully, i'm told. he's obviously been missed by the family. you would miss your friends and family who are away at war of course. so we spoke a bit about that today. it was one of the questions he was asked. >> yes, of course you do, because if you are a parent or, you know, relation or loved one and the person is away like that in these incredibly dangerous and challenge things. i know you worry all the time. certainly every night i worry.
because, you know, he loves doing what he's doing. he's brilliant at it. >> there you are. as you say, it's an emotional side of prince charles we haven't really seen before. >> he's getting a little bit more sentimental. that's all right. banks are going to shell out $8 billion over alleged foreclosure abuses. lisa sylvester's back. she's monitoring that, some of the other top stories. what's happening here? >> the deal was brokered by the federal reserve and involves ten banks including some of the biggest like bank of america and wells fargo. would offer direct payments to borrowers and other assistance such as loan modifications. four banks aren't included in this deal but hope to reach another settlement with the fed. and the supreme court won't step in to block funding of stem cell research on embryos. scientists sued the national institutes of health saying the use of embryonic stem cells is a moral issue because it destroys potential life but supporters of the funding say it helps to
research how the cells can be used to fight a range of illnesses. toyota is revealing its details into research of cars that could drive themselves. could eventually help drivers prevent crashes and eventually take over steering for a driver. toyota says it is not working towards building a full self-driving car. google is working on developing a car that can drive itself. that certainly seems to be a trend here, where the cars can park themselves, cars can drive themselves. >> not happening for me. i want to be in control. at least somebody i trust. >> that's right. >> not nobody. thanks very much. so if you take certain kinds of medicine to control your blood pressure, a new medical study says you also may be helping yourself avoid alzheimer's disease. this is $100,000. we asked total strangers to watch it for us. thank you so much. i appreciate it. i'll be right back. they didn't take a dime.
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call... and lock in your rate for 12 months today. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? a medication commonly prescribed for high blood pressure may also protect against alzheimer's disease and dementia. we're talking about beta blockers. our senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen. what did doctors find in this new study? >> this is fascinating. doctors autopsied hundreds of
men. they found the ones who were on beta blockers, very common blood pressure medications, had fewer signs of alzheimer's in their brains. fewer lesions. less atrophy. they think it might possibly be because it's good for the brain to have lower blood pressure. it sort of takes some of the stress off the brain. maybe that's why they had those findings. >> so explain exactly what a beta blocker is. does it mean people should routinely be taking beta blockers if they suspect they could come down with dementia or alzheimer's down the road? >> beta blockers block the effect of adrenaline which is what helps bring your blood pressure down. doctors said absolutely not, you should not be on a beta blocker unless you need it. if you don't need the beta blocker, it might cause your more medical problems then you started out with. now, if you do have high blood pressure, you can ask your doctor, hey, i'd like to start on a beta blocker, let's use that drug first, because maybe it will help protect against
alzheimer's. >> let's say somebody has a history in their family of alzheimer's or dementia but they don't have any problems with their blood pressure. what do they do in a situation like that? >> right, the doctors we talked to said even in that situation you should not be taking beta blocker because it might bring your blood pressure down too much and you might end up fainting. you really don't want to take a beta blocker unless you need it. again if you do have high blood pressure, there's several different medications you can take. you might want to ask your doctor, hey, can we try a beta blocker first. i should note, one study, particularly this dine of study, doesn't necessarily mean these findings are true. doctors would want to do more work before this could say definitively beta blockers help protect against alzheimer's. >> that's good advice indeed. thank you for that report. you're in "the situation room." happening now, my exclusive interview with egypt's controversial new president, making news with an announcement
you'll hear first right here in "the situation room." also, president obama picks someone to lead the cia and the pentagon. we're going to hear from a former senate colleague who says chuck hagel is the wrong man to become the next defense secretary. and chances are you've either had it or know someone who does. new information about the flu that's spreading across the united states and beyond. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." he's the highest profile leader to emerge from the arab spring revolutions and mohamed morsi's tenure as president of egypt has been marked by controversy. i sat down with him yesterday at the presidential palace in cairo
for an exclusive one-hour interview. during which morsi revealed plans to visit the united states soon. when will you come to the united states? when will you meet with president obama? what do you think of president obama? >> translator: god willing, i will plan for this trip. there is no set date yet but it will most likely be before the end of the first quarter of this year. president obama is an elected president by the american people. and he grants the will of the american people by working for the interests of the american people and this is the american people's right in their president. i respect him and i value him. he played an effective and important role in the cease-fire in regard s to gaza. he cooperated with us in a big way. i'm still in constant communication with him. when we meet, there will be a chance to talk about cooperation in different areas like scientific research, manufacturing and production, investments and tourism. >> so you plan on coming to the
united states, god willing, in the first quarter of this year, between now and the end of march? >> translator: before the end of the first quarter, god willing, i will visit, as you said i will visit, the united states of america, and i will be happy with this visit. >> i asked the egyptian president about the blind egyptian cleric who was convicted here in the united states in connection with the 1993 world trade center bombing. omar abdel-rahman is serving a life sentence in a u.s. prison. just clarify your position on what you want the u.s. government to do as far as the blind sheikh is concerned, who's being held in prison in the united states, convicted of his involvement in blowing up of the 1993 world trade center incident. >> translator: i want him to be free. but i respect the law. and the rule of law in egypt and the united states. what i am talking about isn't a
violation. i don't want a violation of the rule of law. but there are also many humane aspects. there can be things like visitation, assistance, his children, his family. assisting him. he is an old sheikh and sick and blind. we need to respect that in this sheikh. is there a chance for hi to be freed? i wish this, but considering my respect and appreciation for the american rule of law and the american government, our relationship, egypt's relationship with america deserves that these issues be reviewed, if that is okay according to the law. if it isn't possible, and i hope that it is possible, if it wasn't possible, than these humane aspects need to be taken into account, for him to be in a humane prison, to be able to have visitors, to be able to have company, to be able to visit with his sons and children, for his family to visit, for us to see him, for
people to see him and know how he is doing. because he is a man, an old man, and he deserves full care. i wish that there could be a big possibility for the american administration to look into this matter about this sheikh who is very old without there being -- i don't intent on violating the rule of law in any place and i don't like anyone asking me to violate the rule of law in my own country but the humane aspects at the very least need to be guaranteed. >> will you make this appeal directly to president obama when you see him? >> translator: when i meet with hip, i will talk to him about this issue. >> let's get a little bit more on what's going on. our cnn national security analyst peter bergen is joining us. you've studied the case of the so-called blind sheikh for a long time. what do you make of this very bold public announcement that he's going to ask the president when he comes here before the end of march, before the end of
march, to release him or at least do something to give him a better treatment for his role in the effort to blow up the world trade center back in 1993? >> sheikh rahman is in an unusual situation. first of all, as you know, wolf, he's in ill health. so he's sort of in a medical prison facility. secondly, he's under something called special administrative measures which basically people convicted of terrorism regarded as a threat are not allowed to communicate with anybody outside their lawyers. he's not only just in prison, he's under some pretty tight controls. you know, these controls could be lifted. but i think there would be a lot of federal prosecutors who were involved in the cases in the southern district of new york who would be very reluctant to let sheikh rahman go back to egypt but even on a lesser level to have more visitation. because he's used visits even from his lawyers in the past to get messages out to his followers which have actually led in some people's view to
more violence. >> presumably, the fear is he would inspire other terrorists out there to go out there and kill americans. >> yes. in fact, one of his lawyers was convicted, a female american lawyer, was convicted for passing messages to his -- essentially to his group in egypt. she's probably still in prison. this is a kind of sensitive issue. because him going back to egypt. just the idea he might have the ability to communicate with people other than his immediate -- the people he has to communicate with on his legal team. >> tell us why this is important for president morsi to raise this issue. why is this a popular cause within his base, the muslim brotherhood, for example in egypt? >> sheikh rahman is regarded as a fairly important religious scholar. he went to al asar university, sort of the harvard of theological thought. he's been the leader of a very
violent group in egypt, a theological leader. the muslim brotherhood is kind of, you know, at least on the ideological spectrum, on which sheikh rahman is the more extreme version. they clearly have a different view of him. it wasn't just the world trade center case. it was also plots to blow up landmarks around new york. the holland tunnel. and other places. that didn't luckily happen. >> we're going to be releasing a lot more of this interview throughout this week. he goes in depth. he talks about what's going on in egypt. dissent in egypt. what he plans on doing with those like other egyptian leaders who criticize him. much more of this interview. including under what circumstances he would be willing to sit down with the israeli prime minister, netanyahu, or the israeli president, shimon peres. as far as meeting with the president of the united states, everything i'm hearing, u.s.
officials so far are relatively pleased with what president morsi has done over these past six month, especially with the cease-fire between israel and hamases in gaza. >> i think it's been u.s. policy for some period of time to engage with the muslim brotherhood because the muslim brotherhood is a major political force in the middle east. not only in egypt but in other countries. there was a period when the bush administration weren't talking to the muslim brotherhood. clearly, that has changed. >> he's a graduate of the university of southern california, a trojan. spent seven years living here in the united states. when he comes back to the u.s. as president of egypt, i think he wants to go back to usc and see some of the folks he studied with or whatever. that's going to be a fascinating visit once he comes. i'm sure you're looking forward to it as well. >> indeed. >> egypt is the largest of all of the arab countries. almost 90 million people there. think it's arguably the most important of all of the arab countries as well.
not only in north africa but in the middle east. we go through a lot of stuff. much more of the interview coming up. peter, thanks very much. president obama has announced picks for two critical posts. he's tapped hagel to be the defense secretary and his counterterrorism adviser john brennan to lead the cia. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr is joining us now. barbara, how telling are these nominations? >> well, look, wolf, both of these nominations are already mired in controversy. but the president is making clear he picked two men he knows, he likes, that he feel close to. this is his second term national security team. the president wants who the president wants. in announcing his open nominati chuck hagel as the next secretary of defense, president obama made certain he sent this message about his second term foreign policy. >> chuck recognizes that american leadership is
indispensable in a dangerous world. he understands america stands strongest when we stand with allies and with friends. >> reporter: the white house knows the hagel confirmation hearing could become a free fire zone over whether the nominee is tough enough on iran and supportive enough of israel. criticisms obama himself has faced. hagel seemed to try to deflect that criticism in speaking of traditional diplomatic friends. >> i'm also grateful for an opportunity to help continue to strengthen our country and strengthen our country's alliances. >> reporter: in hagel, obama gets an independent-minded vietnam veteran and a one-time army sergeant who strongly believes war is a last resort. a view obama shares. >> chuck knows that war is not an obstration. >> reporter: global threats could move him to recommend military force, particularly in
iran's nuclear program continues. >> if it's clear sanctions are not enough, there's going to be a discussion any secretary of defense, including hagel, has got to decide whether that means limited strikes against facilities. >> reporter: but in choosing john brennan, one of his closest national security advisers, to become the next cia director, the president is showing he will not back down from the cia's aggressive use of lethal force. both in partnering with the military as it did on the raid that killed osama bin laden, and in relying on lethal drone attacks. a drone policy the critics say amounts to targeted killing. >> whatever your views of the drone campaign, john brennan is one of its principal architects. whether that's in pakistan or whether that's in yemen. >> reporter: but back at the pentagon, chuck hagel's most immediate challenge may be cutting the military budget. something he's on the record as
favoring. you know, with the war in afghanistan wrapping up in the next two years and a congress very much looking for spending cuts, hagel may be the man for that part of the job. unless of course another national security crisis rears its head. >> thanks very much for that. there's enough national security crises out there already. we'll have much more on the nomination coming up. why he could be in for a rocky confirmation process. and hillary clinton heads back to work today where he staff greets her with a surprising gift. excuse me, sir i'm gonna have to ask you to power down your little word game. i think your friends will understand. oh no, it's actually my geico app...see? ...i just uh paid my bill. did you really? from the plane?
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simple. who is going to do the best job in securing america. these two leaders have dedicated their lives to protecting our country. >> president obama nominating the former republican senator chuck hagel to be the next defense secretary and his count terrorism adviser john brennan to lead the cia. let's go to our chief national correspondent john king. what does it say about the second term by putting these two men in charge of these two critically important positions? >> i think the president decided, number one, in the intelligence community, to stay the course with somebody he likes and trusts. john brennan has been at his side at the white house for four years. now that petraeus has left the cia, the president wants somebody he trusts, he like and he believes has a deep understanding of the intelligence community. picking hagel, a more interesting, controversial pick. you put a republican at the pentagon in a time you're trying to slink thrink the pentagon. the president thinks that will
help. and the president's not afraid to pick a fight with some republicans. i think if you look at both of them and add in senator kerry, the new secretary of state, it's a comfort leave. you're not worried about satisfying every political interest group. you want people you like and you trust. >> you heard ari fleisher, our cnn contributor, the former bush white house press secretary say for all practical purposes, and i'm paraphrasing him now, hagel really isn't a republican anymore. >> well, this is a great divide and a great debate in the republican party. would he say the same about dick lugar, a respected republican voice? would he say the same about colin powell who served reagan and george h.w. bush and then george w. bush in republican white houses? thought himself about running for the republican nomination for president one day. who have views like chuck hagel. in the last 10 year, there's been as if na fascinating divid.
chuck hagel would fit closer to then than the neo conservative view that dick cheney, donald rumsfeld, and in the senate in recent years. >> colin powell waste nod time in coming out with a strong statement welcoming, endorsing hagel's nomination. i believe that more than ever we need that kind of independent and bold leader who thinks in and out of the box. let's look ahead to the confirmation process. i think the democrats, by and large, will fall in line behind the president. that's their instinct to support a democratic president. what about the republicans? is there going to be a real split? or in the end will they come around and go along with hagel? >> making phone calls and e-mails today, you get the sense that in the end hagel will get many, if not most, of the republicans. will some plant the flag because they oppose him? some legitimately have questions about his views on iran's sanctions where he doesn't want unilateral sanctions. some have used whether they think he's been pro israel
enough. hagel has already tried to explain some of these things away. some of what's happening with chuck hagel is personal. at the end of his time in the senate, some of his friends started to deteriorate but some of it is also political beyond this. that republicans after losing the election to obama, after what many believe was too many concessions in the fiscal fight, some of them are looking for places to plant flags anyway in opposition to the president. so he'll lose spome but he'll have time to explain himself. you mentioned the democrats. harry reid, the leader, has come out in favor of hag m. levin, the committee that will have to approve him, has come forward. they want to ask him about israel, about iran. if you ask on this day, looks like he'll have a fight. on this day, the math looks more than good. >> i suspect during the testimony he'll say -- he'll reassure a lot of those people on his positions, whether iran sanctions or israel or syria or some other sensitivity issues, defense department spending
cuts. i've known him for a long time. you have as well. he's a very, very smart, tough guy. i assume he'll do very well. >> smart, tough, articulate. personable. he knows the senate. >> has a huge fan not only in the president but joe biden, the vice president. there's a great biden/hagel relationship as well. secretary of state hillary clinton's first day back at work was greeted with some surprise gifts and laughs. her colleagues welcoming her home with a football helmet and a jersey. our foreign affairs correspondent jill dougherty is over at the state department with more. give us the details, jill, how did it go? >> secretary clinton almost certainly won't be doing any international travel before she leaves office. it's not the way we expected this nonstop secretary of state to end her term as america's top diplomat. after almost a month of illness recuperating from a stomach flu, a concussion, then a blood clot,
secretary of state hillary clinton went back to work. and the state department went to work showing she was, as they claim, fully recovered. in the pink, her spokeswoman said, literally in a brilliant pink jacket. chairing her weekly meeting with the department's senior staff. she got a surprise from one of her deputies. a uniform, he said, for washington. the city where life is a contact sport. a football helmet with the state department seal. and a jersey with the number 112. the number of countries she's visited as secretary of state. >> she thought it was cool. but then, being hillary clinton, she wanted to get right to business. >> reporter: her first order to her staff, inprove security after independent panels slammed the state department in the wake of the ben ganske terrorist attacks. >> she wants to have every single one of those recommendations on its way to implementation by the time her successor is sworn in.
>> reporter: clinton has been talking with her presumed successor, senator john kerry, almost daily. some critics accuse clinton of faking her illness to avoid testifying on benghazi. the senate foreign relations committee wants to question her before kerry is confirmed. and the state department says she'll do that when congress reconvenes. but that's not till after president obama's inauguration january 21st. in her first week back, clinton's schedule lists several white house meetings midweek and talks with afghan president hamid karzai thursday and friday. aides say she's also meeting with staff behind the scenes. but when it compaes to her futu, says her friend and come democratic political analyst hillary rosen, clinton is not rushing any decisions. >> everybody for the next two years is going to talk to her about whether or not she's going to run for president. i think she's expecting that. i think she's grown, you know, quite a thick skin and kind of
laughing it off and not feeling pressure to follow anybody else's timetable. >> reporter: but even if hillary clinton isn't planning to run in 2016, she can't afford to look weak or incapacitated right now. her aides indicate she's going to try to use every available minute in these last few weeks and make them count. wolf. >> let's hope for the best for her. we wish her only the best. glad to see her out and about. i thought she looks terrific today when she left her house. she seemed pretty excited about all those little gifts and all the welcoming back statements it. >> doctors and emergency rooms are bracing for what could be the worst flu season in a decade. just ahead, we're going to have the latest on a deadly outbreak that's forced more thousands of people to be hospitalized. plus, honoring a teacher who gave her life in the devastating newtown massacre. you're going to find out what her hometown plans to do next. ♪
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slimful and a glass of water... eating less is a beautiful thing. the former new mexico governor bill richardson and the google chairman are now in north korea. a controversial trip is under way. our lisa sylvester is monitoring
that and some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. >> we are just getting new video showing the two men inside the country. richardson commenting that they are on a private humanitarian visit and plan to ask about an american prisoner who is there. state department has openly objected to this visit. google, which is expanding its presence throughout asia, says it doesn't comment on, quote, personal travel. a preliminary hearing for the alleged gunman in the colorado movie theater massacre is revealing gruesome new details about that night. the first officer to confront holmes testifying today he was smelly and very detached from all the carnage around him. the state is hoping to show it has enough evidence to proceed to trial. attorneys for holmes who is charged with 126 counts are expected to argue diminished capacity. 12 people killed, dozens injured, in that july shooting. a new elementary school in stratford, connecticut, could soon bear the name a hometown
teacher who died protecting her students in the sandy hook massacre massacre. the mayor proposing it be renamed to honor the memory of victoria soto. the measure is expected to be taken up at a meeting next week. and adding tweets to its collection of public documents. it has amassed 170 billion public twitter messages as part of an agreement the library signed with the social media site in 2010. the library's currently looking for ways to make this new database available to the public. i think that's going to be quite a telling history if you can see what people were tweeting at the moment on given events like the state of the union. >> you been tweeting a lot? >> i have been. >>@lisasylvester? >> president obama's choice for
defense secretary drawing criticism including some of chuck hagel's fellow republicans. one of them is here to explain why he has already decided he won't vote to confirm hagel. >> he's a good man, but this is the wrong job for him. he's certainly outside of the national security mainstream. humans. even when we cross our t's and dot our i's, we still run into problems. namely, other humans. which is why at liberty mutual insurance, auto policies come with new car replacement and accident forgiveness if you qualify. see what else comes standard at liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy?
former republican senator chuck hagel is president obama's choice to become the next secretary of defense but his confirmation could be a rocky one, even some of his fellow gop lawmakers say hagel is the wrong man for the job. and joining us now from capitol hill, senator john cornyn of texas.
he's a key senior member of the senate armed services committee which will hold confirmation hearings. senator, thank you very much for coming. i know you've already said you will vote to deny him confirmation. why not wait to see how he does during the q & a, during the testimony, before making up your mind? >> well, wolf, chuck hagel has a long record. by the way, i consider him to be an honorable man with a distinguished record of service. but also at the same time, profoundly wrong on some of the biggest national security threats confronting the united states today. namely, a nuclear iran. their aspirations to get a nuclear weapon. which would of course destabilize not just the region but present a national security threat to the united states and certainly a state sponsor of international terrorism. he also has supported direct negotiations with state department designated terrorist
organizations like hamas which recently re lly rained in thous rockets into israel. and also his commitment to supporting our principal democratic ally in the middle east has caused a lot of people on a bipartisan basis to say he's a good man but this is the wrong job for him because he's certainly outside the national security mainstream. >> because he says -- he said it again today in an interview with his hometown newspaper. his views on all these sensitive issues have been widely distorted. since you say he's an honorable man, why not give him a chance to explain his views before coming out and saying he's not worthy of being secretary of defense? >> well, the president has a job to nominate someone he chooses. and of course the senate has a separate job to give advice and consent to these nominations. i'm satisfied due to my knowledge of his record where he stands on these issues. i believe the positions i've
stated are not distorted. i believe those are accurate. but i'm in favor of him having an opportunity certainly in a confirmation hearing to answer those hard questions on a bipartisan basis. this is not a partisan issue. this is one where people who are concerned about his commitment to national security issues, the most important ones who face the country today. >> will you put a hold on his nomination or filibuster his nomination? >> i am -- i think it's really premature to talk about that now. we have a number of people including my colleague dan coats and others who i know you've heard from who expressed their concerns, john mccain, lindsey graham and others. there have been a number of democrats who privately have said they have concerns and are unwilling to commit to his confirmation. so there's going to be a lot happen between now and the hearing and after the hearing and we'll have a chance to express our views then. so i would say it's premature to
say what the process is going to be because, frankly, i don't know. >> what example do you have that he's anti-israel? >> well, i believe that, you know, comments he's made about the so-called jewish lobby which seem to denigrate the efforts of pro-israel individuals, myself included who view that relationship as a special relationship, and one that's important to our national security and stability in the region. i'll give him an opportunity to explain his views. but as you know, there's a number of pro-israel organizations that have already come out and said that based on his long track record, they just have profound doubts about his ability to support our prince pal ally in the middle east. i think that's very important. >> in an interview he gave to aaron david miller, a retired former state department diplomat in the book he wrote, he did say, hagel, the jewish lobby
intimidates a lot of people up here. hagel later said maybe his words wasn't good. i interviewed miller the other day. listen to what he said about chuck hagel. >> the notion that chuck hagel is an anti-semite, that his use of the term jewish lobby suggests the fact he's not qualified to be the secretary of defense or somehow he's fundamentally hostile to the state of israel i think is wrong. >> you want to respond to what miller said? >> he is saying things i am not saying. i'm not making any accusations here. i'm saying israel is our principal ally in the middle east and based upon his support for face-to-face negotiations with the principal sponsor of international terrorism in the region, hamas, and his refusal to draw red lines when it comes to iran's aspirations to get nuclear weapons, to me, those disqualify him for the job of secretary of defense. we should not have a secretary of defense that says it's okay
for iran to get a nuclear weapon and we can contain them. and it will cause a lot of increased instability and national security issues for ourselves and our friends, when saying we ought to conduct fa face-to-face negotiations with state-department sponsored terrorist organizations like hamas, to me, that's a profoundly irresponsible statement and one that disqualifies that person for being the principal representative of the united states on national security issues at the pentagon. >> senator, thank you. the president's pick to head the cia also comes with a little bit of controversy. our pentagon correspondent chris lawrence takes a closer look at john brennan. >> reporter: john brennan is the white house's point man for targeting terrorists. he's got an office in the west wing and the ear of president obama. moving to langley would be a big change. >> going to the cia, you are
farther away from the west wing of the white house and immediate access to the president. >> reporter: in a way, brennan would be coming home. he joined the cia after reading a want ad in the newspaper. learned arabic and became a station chief in saudi arabia. >> al qaeda is on the ropes -- >> reporter: brennan was a candidate for cia director four years ago. but he pulled out of contention when critics slammed his involvement in bush era interrogations. the job went to leon panetta and, later, david petraeus. but the former general had a cultural clash with some career cia analysts. following outsiders panetta and petraeus may be easier for brennan. >> they'll think, here's a guy who understands us and will have our backs and defend us. >> reporter: brennan was intimately involved in the run-up to the assault on osama bin laden. >> at one point, the analysts came back in, they said, well, you know, whoever is living in the compound have a dog.
of course very observant muslims don't have dogs. but brennan had been on the bin laden account himself for 15 years. and he remembered that, in fact, he had a dog when he was living in sudan. >> reporter: brennan supported the raid but afterwards he initially implied that bin laden was armed when he wasn't. brennan suggested bin laden cowardly used a human shield. when he did not. >> there was a female who was, in fact, in the line of fire, that reportedly was used as a shield, to shield bin laden from the incoming fire. >> reporter: brennan wrote "new grou brennan broke new ground last year. he became the first official to publicly explain how the government uses drones to target terrorists. >> john brennan is somebody who was in the room when the obvious decision was made and is one of the principal architects of this campaign. this is surely going to come up
in his confirmation hearing. >> reporter: so will accusations brennan helped manipulate leaks to boost the administration's national security credentials. and unlike the adviser job, which does not need congress' approval, this time, brennan will have to face his critics head on. chris lawrence, cnn, washington. forced to flee their homes. now living in dire circumstances. winter compounds the misery of tens of thousands of syrian refug refugees. now there's a desperate search for a famous designer. there are a lot of warning lights and sounds vying for your attention. so we invented a warning you can feel. introducing the all-new cadillac xts. available with a patented safety alert seat. when there's danger you might not see, you're warned by a pulse in the seat. it's technology you won't find in a mercedes e-class.
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this cargo plane delivered patriot missiles to syria's neighbor turkey today. nato has approved the patriots to help defend against syrian rockets and missiles. and defiant new remarks by al assad are dashing hopes the fighting will end anytime soon. cnn's nick payton walsh is in beirut. >> reporter: france today echoed western condemnation of assad's speech on sunday. saying he was in denial of reality and, quote, not fooling
anyone. i think what we can really take away from his very defiant tone in front of loyal crowds in a theater in damascus is really the end of all efforts for a peaceful settlement by u.n. and even by moscow's diplomats. there had been such high hopes that it would result in some sort of nudge towards assad giving a political concession or finding some kind of settlement. the way ahead, many fear, is the escalation of violence as we go into the military end game here. assad clear he's simply not going to give up power. as that violence escalates, of course the concern is for the humanitarian situation. half a million refugees registered in syria's neighbors. fears that will mount by hundreds of thousands if the violence escalates. the larger fear now in the months ahead. bitter chill of winter hitting these people right when they're most vulnerable.
they fled this far, almost to safety in turkey. but still they dig. to these boys dragged fast into man hood, it's not really a game, it's an air raid shelter. "we make it so if the jets come and bomb us," he says, "we put children here to hide them." but of course we'll make it much bigger for 20 to 30 people. the holes are so they can see outside when the bombs come. although they've already seen so much. "we were sitting and the rocket comes." "making this noise," he says. a big explosion, an artillery shell. here, 8,000 of them fled everything they had, hoping for something, but finding the new free syria could give them little. 100 yards from turkey, they're not allowed into its bustlie ii
camps. of course 80% of those here, he says, came hoping to cross into turkey, but the turkish government stopped hosting over six weeks ago. people are furious. we can't provide a lot of their daily needs. what was temporary in summer is now looking permanent in frost. the distant shelling, a reason to endure even this. even though these people are just about 100 yards from the turkish border, they still have to bring what little tent shelter they have under cover because of the intense cold approaching. you can still hear sometimes shells in the distance reverberate inside this open concrete hangar. but the real enemy in the months ahead is going to be that bitter winter cold. for abdul's daughter, the cold came too fast. she wasn't sick, he says, she didn't have any problems at all. he were up late that night and
playing with her. we woke the next morning and her mother checked on her. she was called into a ball from the cold. we buried here in the village. her sister is afraid now of the cold. now he burns plastic to keep warm. wood is in short supply and expensive. they've stripped nature almost bare here. even these plants cut down for food. trash, plastic, gathered hung hungrily. its acrid poisonous smoke over a wretched world. this is the best the world has done for them. nick payton walsh, cnn, syria. >> march will mark two years since the start of the civil war in syria. more than 60,000 people have died there according to the united nations. hundreds of thousands of people have been made refugees.
i asked the egyptian president yesterday, mohammed morsi, to talk about the president, bashar al assad, during our exclusive interview at the presidential palace in cairo. >> translator: it is not i who want this but the syrian people who want this. this phase is a phase of the people. similar to what the egyptian people wanted. the syrian people want it. we support the syrian people. they're going to win. >> you say the syrian people want al assad to be tried for war crimes? >> translator: the syrian people through their retch lucivolutio through this will have a new government of their choosing, and then will decide what they want to do against those who committed crimes against them. it is the syrian people who decide. >> president morsi told me flatly bashar al assad must go, he must go right now, and he
says he supports all of those syrians who want bashar al acid to be tried for war crimes. much more of my interview with president morsi coming up throughout this week. of s say it may be the worst flu outbreak the country has seen in a decade. up next, we're going to tell you how emergency rooms are handing the dramatic surge in patients and what you need to know to protect yourself. mmmm tasty. and cut! very good. people are always asking me how we make these geico adverts. so we're taking you behind the scenes. this coffee cup, for example, is computer animated. it's not real. geico's customer satisfaction is quite real though. this computer-animated coffee tastes dreadful. geico. 15 minutes could save you 15 % or more on car insurance. someone get me a latte will ya, please? to help protect your eye health as you age... would you take it? well, there is.
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. a dramatic flu case is sweeping the countries and now some emergency rooms are struggling to handle the strains. how bad is it, mary? >> there are a couple things concerning doctors. one of the things is the number of people getting sick and being hospitalized and the second is that this may be the earliest tart to a flu season in a decade. flu cases have jumped so dramatically at boston's deaconess hospital, they are bracing for winter weeks still to come. doctors are considered other actions. >> we are evaluating whether we
are going to need to take other special measures, such as screening visitors to the institution, screening employees as measures to try and control the -- or better understand the volume of influenza in the hospital. >> reporter: massachusetts is just one of 41 states reporting widespread flu cases. health officials report a higher number of people needing to be hospitalized with symptoms ranging from sneezing and coughing to muscle aches. so far, 2200 hospitalizations have been traced and 18 deaths. the death of a 17-year-old texas boy has prompted family and friends to urge others to get flu shots. >> i'm the first one to say my family doesn't get the flu shot but we will and we will advocate that from now on. >> the push to get vaccinated is one echoed by the doctor at the clinic hills hospital. the emergency room there is
seeing an uptick in flu cases but it includes some people who did get the flu shot. >> the fact that some people are getting sick even though they've gotten vaccinated, does that mean that it's not working? >> it doesn't mean that at all. generally in the population, the number of people will still contract the flu virus even though they've been vaccinated. >> it takes two weeks for a flu shot to take effect. those who have severe flu symptoms or are at risk for serious flu-related symptoms could take anti-viral medications. officials can't say why this is so strong this year. >> this influenza virus has been linked to seasons in the past that have been severe and that's one of the reasons why we are
seeing so many flus. >> on a typical year, doctors say that they've seen cases peak in late january and february. they are worried that they see this sharp increase so early and hoping that the numbers do not continue to climb. >> it's not too late to get a flu shot even right now. thanks very much, mary, for that. a massive search under way for a world famous fashion house. we have details next. aig? we said we were going to turn it around, and we did.
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[ male announcer ] when diarrhea hits, kaopectate stops it fast. powerful liquid relief speeds to the source. fast! [ male announcer ] stop the uh-oh fast with kaopectate. snoof a massive search is under way off the coast of vnz for a missing plane carrying the head of the internationally known fashion house. the plane disappeared on friday. lisa sylvester is joining us now. what are we learning? >> the plane carrying missoni has vanished. 300 people are taking part in the search but it's been four days and nothing has been turned up and it still remains a mystery. les roques attracting wealthy visitors from around the world. it's among these islands where the plane carrying vittor
vittorio missoni disappeared. also on the plane was his wife and pilot and co-pilot. it left les roques on friday and hasn't been heard from since. he's the director of the missoni fashion house known for its bold and zigzag patterns. he runs the company along with his two siblings. the missoni reached a mass audience when they reached a deal with target. it was so popular that when first introduced target's website crashed. the missoni's company website acknowledged that the plane is missing and asked the press to kindly respect the family's privacy at this time they are asking anyone with information to contact the italian ministry
of foreign affairs. elena cho has spoken with members of the family. they confirm that the pilot has joined the search and rescue efforts. >> the family is extremely close-knit. three generations often spent time together. this is a family that is beloved in fashion and, of course, everyone in fashion is hoping for the best. >> outside one of the new york stores, missoni's customer pray the passengers will be found alive. >> it's a brand like no other brand. it's just -- he has his signature on it. and you know when something is missoni and the sense of design is beautiful. the sense of design, the way he blends the colors and everything. >> it just really tragic and mysterious but i don't know. it's very sad. >> now, vittori missoni is the
director of the fashion house. his sister is the creative direct fo director. this would be such a tragic loss for the fashion community. >> lisa, thank you. happening now, president obama's new choice to leave the pentagon is on the defensive. at this hour, a heated debate over chuck hagel's nomination and the next ci achlt director despite what senator john mccain is doing is raising a red flag and flying close to the ground, they could help protect us from nuclear attack or a dirty bomb. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the situation room. >> now the confirmation battle begins. chuck hagel is vowing what he
recalls his record. president obama officially announced his record today despite weeks of pushback by hagel's critics. the president tapped his counterterrorism director to become director of cia. brianna keilar has much more. brianna. >> reporter: wolf, president obama said today that chuck hagel represents a bipartisan tradition that we need more of in washington. republicans on the hill are panning this pick and some democrats have concerns as well. president obama praised former senator chuck hagel, his nominee for secretary of defense who, if confirmed, would be the first to have served as an enlisted soldier. >> chuck knows that war is not a distraction. he understands that sending out americans to fight and bleed in the dirt and mud, that's something we only do when it's
absolutely necessary. my frame of reference, he has said, is geared towards the guy at the bottom who is doing the fighting and the dying. >> reporter: many republicans on capitol hill are slamming the president's choice. >> this is an in your face nomination by the president to all of us who are supportive of israel. >> reporter: gop critics questioned hagel's support for israel and specifically for unilateral u.s. sanctions against iran. >> not only has he said you should directly negotiate with iran sanctions won't work and hamas, an organization and also one of 12 senators trying to designate hezbollah as a terrorist organization. >> reporter: white house officials say hagel's record is solid and point to his support
of iran's sanctions supported by the u.s. in conjunction with other countries which president obama referenced as he announced the nomination. >> he understands that america stands strongest when we stand with allies. and with friends. >> reporter: the president also nominated john brennan, his top counterterrorism director to head the cia. brendan was under consideration to leave the agency in 2008 but withdrew his name, concerned about the involvement in the bush administration practice of enhanced interrogation. >> he asked the tough questions and he insists on high and rigorous standards. >> reporter: but brennan is expected to be confirmed and much more easily than hagel. talking, wolf, to white housing
a vadvisers, they feel that he will be able to get the support that he needs in the senate. >> so far three national security nominations for the president's cabinet. no women yet. what's the white house saying about that? >> no women. jay carney was asked about that today in the briefing. he said that the president beliefs in diversity but that these nominees represent janet napolitano and u.n. ambassador susan rice. the fact is, secretary hillary clinton was the most prominent woman in the president's ka cabinet. she is being replaced by a man, senator kerry. as of now, there are fewer women in the mix. >> brianna, thanks very much. kate bolduan is here with more. what are you hearing about the timing? >> the timing in terms of the confirmation hearing, i'm told that the armed services committee hopes to consider hagel's nomination by the end of this month but simply
schedulewise, it could be difficult because the senate isn't in session this week or next and when senators do return, it's customary for the nominee to have a period of time, a week, a couple weeks to meet with can committee members before and key senators before confirmation hearings begin. for more on a little bit of this, we'll go to tom foreman with a sense of what we can expect when those hearings are under way. tom, you're in a place that no one gets to go. >> that's right. here in our virtual center, we're going to talk about the first hurdle that he has to hear. it's comprised of 12 republicans and 14 democrat. he needs a simple majority here for his nomination to be pushed on to the entire senate. so who is opposing it? over here on the republican side, the charge is being led by senator john mccain from arizona and lindsey graham. chief complaints, first of all, israel. senator hagel made some very
ill-considered remarks that the pro-bush lobby was pushing new policies not good here for the u.s. a lot of people didn't like it and when he suggested that there should be talks between israel and the u.s. and hamas. iran is another issue. there are a lot of republicans who feel like he's too inclined to negotiate with iran not nearly inclined enough to supply strong military or even strong economic pressure against iran over their nuclear program. and beyond that, at a time when there's talk of defense spending cuts in the air, a lot of republicans would simply like to have a much more hawkish defense secretary. their bottom line is, they say chuck hagel is a wonderful guy but he's just too soft for this job at this time. kate? >> tom, as you were talking about right there, on some of those key issues hagel says that his positions are being m mischaracterized, that he is for israel, against iran, and he'll
keep the military strong. how are democrats helpinging hn this arena? >> some of them are coming out very strongly. for example, jack reid in rhode island, he's saying that this man is hugely qualified, will make an excellent secretary of defense but other lawmakers are in a bit of a tighter spot. if you think about it, first of all, kristen gillibrand from new jersey. and what about richard blumenthal, one of the few states that allows gay marriage? chuck hagel made comment some years ago about that. he's since disavowed many of those comments and says that he's being taken out of context. but that does make it somewhat trickier for some democrats who want to support him because, after all, if they have a large
liberal contingent in their state, they are starting off by being asked by the president to back a republican for this key post which some democrat may not like that much to begin with. the bottom line is, chuck hagel faces a real fight in this committee and even if he gets out of it with the simple majority that he needs, that's not the end of the fight. and then it moves on to the entire u.s. senate where, yes, the democrats have an advantage in the numbers but all of these issues can be raised once again. kate? >> tom foreman straight from the senate floor for us or our virtual studio. thank you so much. let's bring in gloria borger right now. >> i want to go to that virtual studio. >> i've been trying for weeks to get in. >> you need a special press pass. only tom foreman has it. let's talk about this confirmation process. opposition from republicans and democrats are queasy, i think we can put it that way. what are you hearing? what are you seeing? >> there is opposition on both sides.
the things that strike me about the republicans, is they don't think he's a republican. come on, they say, he's not a republican. they believe that he's more liberal, that he's more dovish than president obama, and they point quite rightly to the surge in afghanistan which chuck hagel opposed. so they say, you know what, more liberal than the president. and as tom is pointing out, lot of democrats are uneasy about this nomination and i spoke with a senior democratic aide in the senate who said that there are at least ten democrat in the senate who are what he calls undecided about this nomination. and he mentioned senator gillibrand. she said, considering can some of the statements senator hagel has made and votes he has cast, particularly regarding iran policy, tough questions must and will be asked to clarify his views before these hearings are complete. that's not exactly praise for
the nominee of a democratic president. this doesn't mean that in the end she and other democrats won't join hands and support him but at this point they are -- i think we should expect some very, very tough hearings. >> he's kind of a man without a party because he's not a democrat and republicans are bucking him. but does that also mean, then, that all of the pressure lands on his shoulders squarely? >> sure. >> how much pressure is he under to defend himself? >> first of all, had he to exert a bunch of pressure or lobbying, if you will to get the nomination in the first place. he had -- and i'm told he was talking privately to both republicans and democrats on the hill to sort of make it clear that he could actually at some point get this nomination through because the president didn't want to embark on something that was going to be a lot of cause. i would argue that's why susan rice wasn't nominated for secretary of state. and we're at the beginning of this. the white house over the weekend called some pro-israel groups,
tried to give him a heads up, that he was going to be nominated and said to him, you know, please try and hold your fire. chuck hagel himself gave an interview to the "lincoln nebraska newspaper ", there's not one senate vote that matters that hurt israel. so again you see him saying, just wait, wait until my hearings, i can explain all of these votes to you and i am not pro-iran and i am not anti-israel. >> and i think in his response when he's asked these sensitive questions he will make that clear and he'll be pretty strong in the support. >> and then you'll see some democrats falling in line. >> unless there's something we don't know or a huge blunder in his testimony, i suspect he's going to be confirmed relatively easily. relatively. >> relatively. it's going to be -- it's going to be an interesting -- that's always -- >> there's always a little fire before they get to the books. >> yep. senator john mccain says he has some very tough questions for his president's choice to be
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motor trend's 2013 truck of the year. today i can say to the men and women of the cia and director john brennan, you will have one of your own, a leader who cares for you deeply and will fight for you every single day. >> president obama praising his new nominee for director of central intelligence. i will bring in fran townsend. what does john brennan bring to the cia that general petraeus
didn't bring? >> wolf, general petraeus took off the uniform at the four-star rank, and had to lead a civilian organization which is very different. you know, john brennan comes out of that culture. he spent 25 years at the cia. he's been a station chief. he understands how intelligence is gathered, how it's analyzed, and how it's best utilized by policy makers and now he's been at the other end of that spectrum, if you will. he's been a user of intelligence, a consumer. he's set the requirements at the white house. and so he understands all aspects of the system and i think, you know, the cia has been through a very difficult time. remember, you had the cia officers killed in the coast bombing in pakistan and now you've got him coming back home, if you will. mike morell stood there and very graciously said to brennan, welcome home. i think that's how it will be
viewed after a very tumultuous time, especially the circumstances under which general petraeus left. >> that's what i wanted to ask you about. general petraeus left under such a cloud of controversy. how does that work with the way that john brennan moves? does he have to smooth the edges? >> it does that without him really having to try very hard. it's not like he has to learn the institution or the people. he doesn't have to learn the business or intelligence like anyone from the outside would. it's actually a pretty smooth transition for him. and on top of that, he actually enjoys the confidence of the president. and so especially in the area of covert action, which is really an extension of a president's policy, he has the confidence and trust of the president to be able to tell the president what they are capable of, what they can and can't do and what will be most effective. so frankly at a time that's been filled with chaos and controversy for the cia, he
comes in and can be a very solid sort of calming force and provide the leadership that the agency needs. they love most of their mission and they want to get back to their mission and not the sort of controversy and politics of washington. >> he was a cia analyst for more than 20 years, a station chief in saudi arabia. he obviously knows the agency quite well. four years ago after the president was elected he was considering to be the director but eventually withdrew his name because of the controversy over his name with the bush administration with those enhanced interrogation techniques. he wrote a letter to the president-elect on november 25th, 2008, it has been immaterial to the critics that i'm a strong opponent of the bush administration such as the pre-emptive war in iraq and coercive interrogation tactics. but those issues are going to
come up and john mccain making it clear he has serious concerns. >> that's right, wolf. those are legitimate questions about senator mccain but i would say to you, during the period of the enhanced interrogation techniques, first of all, i was in the white house from 2003 forward and i wasn't read into that program. john was deputy director of the cia and would have had no role in those policy debates regardless of what he thought about them. and in fact that is true, john disagreed with a number of the bush administration policies and he didn't have the opportunity to have because of those disagreements. and so while those are legitimate questions now, i think that you will find the public and the senate should find that it should not prohibit john from beginning the director of the cia. i think he will be quite a good director. >> fran town second, thanks very much. i suspect he's not going to have any serious problem getting confirmed. kate? >> still ahead, global trouble
shooter bill richardson is now in north korea talking about his mysterious trip back to the country. and hillary clinton suits up for her return back to the state department. [ ship horn blows ] no, no, no! stop! humans. one day we're coming up with the theory of relativity, the next... not so much. but that's okay -- you're covered with great ideas like optional better car replacement from liberty mutual insurance. total your car and we give you the money to buy one a model year newer. learn about it at liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy?
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secretary of state hillary clinton went back to work today. great news.
kate's here with that. some of the days other top stories. i thought she looked fabulous on her first day back after being four weeks ill. >> we have a little video but she does look good. we're told that sect clinton seems fully recovered based on her workload today. she has been side lined by a series of medical problems. state department officials welcomed their boss with a couple of gifts joking reminders that working in washington is a contact sport. >> she opened the book and inside was a football helmet with the state department's seal, lots of good padding. and also a football jersey that said clinton on the back and on the front it says, number 112, which symbolizes the number of countries that she's visited as secretary of state and she loved it. she thought it was cool. but then being hillary clinton, she wanted to get right to
business. >> right back to business. the secretary of state has been talking daily with the man nominated to replace her, senator john kerry. also, former new mexico governor bill richardson and google chairman eric schmidt are seen here inside north korea. richardson said that he hopes to meet with an american held captive there. the state department has openly objected. here's what richardson said after he left. >> it's a private humanitarian visit. we're here as american citizens looking at the humanitarian situation. we're going to ask about the american detainee who is here. we're interested in economic and political situation. we are concerned about the missile launches and we're concerned about the importance of dialogue. >> we're told richardson's group will hold a news conference in
beijing thursday, presumably to talk about the trip after it's all over. and getting your blood pressure under control may actually have some extra benefits for your brain. a study of more than 700 men found that those that took beta blockers have fewer signs of alzheimer's disease. it's often a last choice because of severe side effects but regardless good to know. >> i think if you're taking beta blockers -- >> it's a horrible -- it's one of the worst. >> thanks very much. don't go too far away. much more coming up on our top story. chuck hagel insists he's not anti-israel. stand by for a heated debate for his nomination to be defense secretary and how it might affect u.s. policy in the middle east. and choppers flying low across the nation's capital.
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happening now, the backlash against the president's nominee to lead the pentagon. two key voting groups are ready for a fight. helicopters buzzing low over the capital. an airline luggage horror story. the vintage guitar that got lost and then got squashed. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> criticism of chuck hagel is coming from many sides now that the former republican senator has been nominated as defense secretary. that will likely make his
confirmation hearing contentious and pretty darn interesting, to say the least. jim acosta has been tracking the reaction. >> reporter: kate, that's right. he may be a former senator but it's not clear how much support he'll get from his former colleagues. he'll have to make his way through a political minefield to get confirmed. the white house is playing defense when it comes to chuck hagel, a former two-term gop senator from nebraska, president obama's secretary of defense is running into resistance. indiana senator dan coats, once on the short list for secretary of defense himself, says hagel is in for a fight. >> have you made up your mind one way or the other on this? >> i want to give chuck hagel, a former colleague, the opportunity to go face-to-face to answer these questions, these allegations, what i think are some serious questions that do not perhaps qualify him for this
position. >> reporter: one big battle to come, a comment that hagel made in 2006 about israeli groups and their influence on capitol hill when he said that the jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here. he has since apologized but that hasn't stopped the criticism. one group says they hope he will clarify and explain his comments. the comment is being twisted, a middle east analyst says. >> he they have been hijacked that in my case is not well deserved. >> still, some say that hagel's comments fit a pattern. >> chuck hagel, if confirmed to be the secretary of defendant, would be the most antagonist in our history. >> reporter: some say that it
stems from the bush years when hagel aligned himself with them senator obama over the war. >> i don't think we've ever had a coherent strategy. >> reporter: two purple hearts from vietnam, a senior administration official brushed off the criticism saying it's one thing to posture on a talk show. it's another thing to look a two-term senator in the eye and say i'm going to vote against you because you voted against the war in iraq. gay rights groups are looming and neoconservatives report to the unilateral sanctions on iran. >> i think it would be a lot of tough questions of senator hagel and he'll be treated fairly by republicans in the senate. >> reporter: earlier this afternoon, one of those
republicans, senator john mccain, released a statement saying that he has serious concerns about the nomination but the white house appears to be ready to do political combat to save this nomination. one official told me earlier today, kate, that he was pointing out some of the statements that were made praising chuck hagel by republican senators when senator hagel left the united states congress and they are wondering what's happened to those senators now, why they are making dramatically different statements now. kate, keep in mind, chuck hagel was a maverick up here on capitol hill for many years and that leaves you without as many friends as you think you might have. >> it may make you a good secretary of defense. we will see. jim acosta, thanks so much. >> let's bring if two guests. jane harmon and also the former bush white house press secretary and cnn political contributor and ari fleischer. what's wrong with chuck hagel? >> he's outside the mainstream
of both parties when he when it comes to our middle east policy. he he wants to have negotiations with hamas and hezbollah. and he was against sanctions against iran that it would put a hold on the sanctions. he's too hard on israel and too soft on iran and i think that's the big problem. >> he said in an interview today, there's not one shred of evidence that i'm anti-israeli, not one senate vote that matters that hurts israel. >> i didn't say anti. he's hard on israel and that's the heart of the problem. why is president president obama and and really the breakdown of the country when it comes to
israel and not the palestinians by 75-2. liberal democrats are increasingly neutral. 33% favor israel. 22% favor the palestinians. not very much support for israel. president obama is moving in the direction of neutrality. >> jean, get in here. what is he saying? >> chuck hagel is not running for nebraska and republican caucus in the senate. i think he was nominated by president obama because he trusts him and has worked with him for many years. i worked with him for many years. he served on the intelligence senate committee. i remember very cordial trips on delegations to the security council. i don't know what turned this but i think the president has a right to nominate the person he wants. i think that the questions on the armed services committee should be vigorous in the senate
and i'm sure that there will be and he should have to answer but i certainly think his independence, i maybe know a little bit about that, too, is to be applauded and if you think about it in a team of rival sense, i think maybe the president in his sect term wants a very strong muscular national security team that pushes back a little and maybe there will be a debate on some policies. i think the president will have his way. he should have his way. i don't think this is a nomination of someone anti-israel and i don't think -- i accept his apologies on the guy and lessee general issue. i strongly differed with him on that issue. >> looking at it from kind of the inside out because he still needs to go through his confirmation hearings and there will be vigorous questioning. look at it from the outside in as well. when you look at bickering on both sides attacking the president's nomination for the secretary of defense, what does that say to our allies or
enemies when there's so much controversy about this person? >> well, i'm glad the president fought for this nomination. roll back the tape on susan rice and john kerry, i think he's extremely qualified but he didn't fight for that one. otherwise, i think it would be a target zone for anyone being considered for a nomination by this president because the senate wouldn't respect that he was going to fight for people. so i'm proud of that. but i also think that hagel is a sound choice. it doesn't mean i agree with him on everything. i don't. and i do think vigorous questions should be asked. so let's understand that he will be a strong bipartisan secretary of defense. that's what leon panetta was, after all. no one is mentioning that aspect as a panetta record.
and i think it has to be scrubbed again. i think we need to consider every expenditure that we need to make. >> people from both sides, when you're out there on a limb, nobody agrees with you. that's the policy pattern that he showed and you add up that pattern and it was, as i said earlier, hard on israel, soft on iran. that's why hardly anybody voted with him. >> here's why the president -- when you're isolated. >> here's why the president picked including hagel in large part because he knew him they were both members of the senate foreign relations committee and he agreed with his skepticism about going to war ten years ago against suddam hussein against iraq. chuck hagel when he said there were no weapons of mass
destruction, it was not really to do with 9/11 and the u.s. painted enormous price for ten years in iraq and the question that chuck hagel and other opponents of that war asked, what did the u.s. get on that argument and i suspect the u.s. agrees with chuck hagel on that war position and that's why he picked him. >> i think hagel voted for the war. >> authorization of the war but opposed it. i interviewed him just before the war on several occasions and he clearly was one of those raising enormous questions about why the u.s. should spend that money and risk that -- the blood to go to war in iraq. >> you can find scores of former senators who share that statement about iraq that he could have nominated that are not soft on israel and easy on -- hard on israel and easy on iran. you have to admit it's not related issues over the past
many years they shared those opinions about iraq. and the approach to the middle east, that's what this is about. and explaining himself in a hearing and questioning our policies and it's another strong and i think it's someone else and the director of the cia, and
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. all right. let's continue this conversation with jane harman, ari fleischer, debating whether chuck hagel should be the next secretary of
defense. he said this, supported the letter, direct u.s. engagement with hamas may not now be practical but shutting out the movement and isolating gaza has only made it stronger and fatah weaker. now, that's been seen by some of his critics by saying that he's pro hamas. jane, what do you say? >> he was depending on circumstances, i'm sure we saw all of the pro fatah demonstrations. i would hope that president m e morsi that you just interviewed, that he would help with reconciliation. we shouldn't rule out talking to hamas, i agree with hagel, if they are going to change their
stripes and if there's going to be reconciliation of the two governments. it's past time to have a two-state solution. i worry that in both -- for both sides, for the future of israel and for our own respect in the region that if we abandon this cause, it's going to hurt us. >> all right. i assume this is where you see one of hagel's shortcomings? >> that's right. the bipartisan policy is we don't talk to terrorists, we don't negotiate with terrorists. also, a terrorist organization, this is the pattern that i see with him. and issue after issue which israel has drawn a red line and has said it's important to our safety and security, chuck hagel always occupies the other side of that line with hardly anybody else shoulder to shoulder with him. nobody else has directed negotiations. even president obama has walked away from direct negotiations with iran, unilateral
negotiations. so this is what what i don't understand that chuck hagel's view is, a view that israel seems to be. >> let's let jane harman respond. >> he should be asked about all of this, explain all of this. i applaud the president, and i'm sure you all do, too, for marshalling the entire world for the crippling sanctions against iran. i think chuck's position was he's from lateral multisanctions and he voted for all of those. and he'll have to explain himself and works for the president as the president's secretary of defense, he's going to follow the president's direction. >> i suspect when he testifies and answers a lot of those tough questions, ari, you're going to hear a very, very robust
statement of support for a strong u.s. israeli relationship. if he does say those things and says it concisely and clearly, are you going to -- >> i'm going to be fascinated to listen to what he says, particularly why he says it should not be an option, should be off the table. he now changed his position on that because he reports to president obama. wolf, i want to hear the whole thing. i want to hear it in context but i'm deeply troubled by the things he says. if he does change now, it's only so he can become secretary of defense, not because he believes in the things that he might say. ari fleischer, jane harman, thank you. it's only just beginning. these confirmation hearings are going to be exciting. there's a long way to go until the next presidential election but a republican is high on everyone's list of possible candidates joining erin burnett tonight. erin, give us a little preview. what are you talking about? >> well, we're going to be talking about a poll that just came out this afternoon. 73% of people who live in the
state of new jersey approve of chris christie. now, yes, some of that certainly related to superstorm sandy but the reality is this is a state that has voted for the president for the last two elections. so what does this mean for chris christie in 2016? we've looked at his most inflammatory comments and find out if he has what it takes. and we're going to talk about the rape in india which has captured the hearts and attention of people around the world. wolf, in the u.s. we say this could never happen here. this happens only in a place like the u.s. and when you look at the statistics where the united states is still ranked as the number one country in the world for rapes. we're going to take a look at that with fareed zakaria tonight. >> we'll be watching at the top of the hour, erin. thanks very much. an alarming sight. we're learning new details about a mission that could protect all
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so low, so loud, and kind of scary. now we know why it could help protect us all from a potentially deadly attack. brian todd has been looking into this. what are you finding out? >> the government is doing this with a specially equipped low-flying helicopter. the video showed it. this helicopter is detecting gamma radiation. it's startling people all around washington, as kate mentioned, but that's better than being startled by a terrorist with a dirty bomb later. it's a head-turner, flying so low over the city that your first instinct is something is wrong. but it's part of a plan to safe guard washington from a nuclear or dirty bomb attack. >> some time in the future, you have a reason to be looking for something radiological, it's very necessary to have the original background. >> specially equipped helicopters flown by the nuclear security administration partnering with the department of homeland security are looking
for naturally occurring radiati radiation. it flies back and forth in a lawn mower pattern. the idea is to create a map of the normal radiation levels of the city. then when there's a specific threat of a nuclear or dirty bomb attack, if there's a threat like that, the government can look at the map, see what's normal, and then see what may be an anomaly. the choppers would be sent up again to check out the possible anomaly. >> if we got some indication that something was different from the background, then we would start narrowing it down with our -- with our investigation on foot and vehicle. >> as for what's normal radiation, homeland security expert randy larson says there's a lot of that in a city. >> the asphalt in this road right here puts out some gamma radiation. this building, large buildings like this, built out of stone or granite, put out a certain amount of radiation. here we are in mcpherson's
square, the monument, solid granite, that puts out radiation. that's what we want to see what it looks like on a daily basis. >> it's gamma emitting radiation that is used at industrial and construction sites. in hospitals for medical treatment and testing, and can also be used in a dirty bomb. this helicopter is equipped with crystal based gamma radiation sensing technology, two pilots, a scientist, and a technician onboard, in case of an active threat, they may get an urgent call to scan a certain part of the city. >> we have a full array of deployable teams that can deploy during the day within two hours across the united states. >> larson says it's critical that the government do this kind of testing because cities are especially vulnerable to dirty bombs. >> this is a terrorist attack that we think is one of the more likely ones for them to do. >> these fly-overs cover about
70 square miles of the washington, d.c. area and will go through this week, at least. >> they have done this in other cities as well? >> they have. the nnfa, the agency doing this has done it over new york, baltimore, and the san francisco bay area. this is at least the second time they have done it over d.c. they did it one about five years ago and they're updating it now. the threat of a dirty bomb in this city is high. >> thank you. still ahead, a vintage guitar squashed. jeanne moos is next with one airline passenger's travel probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues with three strains of good bacteria. live the regular life. phillips'.
try capzasin-hp. it penetrates deep to block pain signals for hours of relief. capzasin-hp. take the pain out of arthritis. here's a look at this hour's hot shots. in romania, people wait at the edge of a lake for a tiffany festival to begin. in turkey, snow falls heavily as two women walk down a street in istanbul, and in serbia, dried oak branches are ceremonially burned as part of a holiday tradition. and in germany, a giraffe inspects visitors from his enclosure at the zoo. hot shots, pictures coming in from tharnd world. >> nice giraffe. >> a muziegz is doing more than singing the blues because an airline, get this, mishandled his guitar. jeanne moos shows us how he's fighting back.
>> reporter: it's bad enough to lose a bag, but when you see the case of your vintage guitar shredded at the luggage pickup -- >> i let out a couple amazingly creative expletives. >> reporter: dave schneider didn't want to check his baby, red gibson es-35 from 1965. >> i begged, i tried, i told them the value. >> reporter: a little under $10,000, dave says, but delta agents in buffalo insisted he couldn't carry it on as he had always done before. when dave landed in detroit, he took out his phone and shot the guitar being transferred. >> be careful with the guitar if that's possible. >> sure. >> a friendly flight crew member even went on to the tarmac, asking the baggage handlers to be gentle, but as dave waited with the other passengers -- >> this crate goes up and it sounded like a wood shredder.
>> reporter: actually, the case looked way worse than the guitar. it took employees an hour to extricate the instrument, which cost almost $2,000 to fix and dave says will never be the same. he did not do what another dave, dave carroll did, three and a half years ago. ♪ you broke my favorite guitar >> this dave got fed up with getting the run around from united after his guitar was damaged so he wrote a song and performed it on youtube. ♪ because united breaks guitars ♪ >> he even ended up writing a book "united breaks guitars." now there's another voice and delta is responding. this is not representative of the great care we take with our customers' property. we have apologized and are working directly with the customer to rectify what happened. >> i'm going to ask for $10,000. that's for the value of the